Hoka One One Tracer 2 Performance Review
Thomas: The HOKA Tracer 2 feels fast on foot weighing in at 8.5 oz. for a men’s size 10.5. That isn’t insanely light, but it is light for a trainer that you can wear daily. The stack is much lower than usual for a HOKA (24mm heel, 20mm toe, 4mm drop), keeping your foot closer to the ground. The midsole didn’t change from the original Tracer so you will be familiar with the dual density softer heel and firmer forefoot. The shape of the midsole gives the shoe a rocker feel. The Tracer 2 is smooth through your strides transition. The outsole also remains the same, medium to light rubber coverage.
The upper is a significant improvement on the Tracer 2. My foot feels more secure in the engineered mesh. The lightly padded tongue, collar and heel counter, are near perfect. It seems like a lot of shoes make up for poor fit by adding a lot of puffiness to these spots. To create the structure over the midfoot HOKA used 3D Puff Print Frame. I am not exactly sure what that is, but it works. I was thrilled with the fit of the upper. The Tracer 2 runs true to size, get your regular running shoe size.
Meaghan: I loved the original HOKA Tracer. If you did too, good news, not too much has changed. The notable update is the engineered mesh upper with 3D puff printed support frames. The new design offers additional support and a more secure feel. HOKA added some cushioning to the tongue (a complaint I had about the original Tracer) for a better fit and added comfort.
The midsole/outsole remains the same. Compared to most HOKA shoes, the Tracer 2 looks and feels like a traditional neutral trainer. I would say this shoe falls in between the Clifton and the Clayton regarding firmness and bounce underfoot. Maybe a slightly firm Kinvara 8 as another point of reference. There is minimal rubber on the outsole, but enough to give the shoe some durability. I’m sure I’ll get 200+ miles out of this shoe.
Thomas: I would like a tiny bit more softness in the forefoot. After the first few miles, the Tracer 2 can start to feel less responsive and a little slappy. Want me to get real picky? Okay, the laces were way too long. Other than that nothing that negative stands out.
Meaghan: The weight of the Tracer 2 increased from about 6.0 oz to 6.8 oz for my W7.5. Of course, anything under 7 oz is still super light, but when comparing the two, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed. Also, the colorway… what is that? Thomas and I both received the bright yellow / blue color shown above, and it’s entirely heinous.
Hoka One One Tracer 2 Conclusion
Thomas: With the outsole and midsole unchanged the upper is the standout for the Tracer 2. If you liked the original Tracer, you would love the Tracer 2. If you haven’t tried the Tracer before, this trainer falls into the same category as the Asics Roadhawk FF, Salming Speed 6, Kinvara 8, and Brooks Launch. The Tracer will work for both daily training and race day. You will love the lightweight feel.
Meaghan: As noted above, if you liked the original Tracer, you won’t be disappointed with the update. It’s the same shoe, with a more supportive upper. Other than an increase in weight, I think most will argue the new design is for the better. If you’re looking for a neutral trainer or a HOKA with a little less stack height, give the Tracer 2 a go.